Sunday, January 18, 2009

Countdown: CYA Time Approaches

You may recall all of the punditry that came from the web and the traditional media regarding Scooter Libby. For months, the line among the most cautious was that Bush would "have to pardon" Libby, or Libby would "go to prison." Among the bloggers (whose analyses and predictive abilities are held to even less accountability), it was more like "Of course, Bush will pardon Libby, stupid!" Of course, it turned out that Bush did not pardon Libby but Libby did not go to prison. The whole impressive structure was fatally flawed ... fun to look at, amusing, head-line grabbing, but all the more silly looking when it crashed, especially when some suddenly attempted to feign surprise that Bush acted at all (granting a commutation of a portion of the sentence).

Of course, the immediate recourse was to quickly develop an elaborate explanation for why Bush did not grant a pardon. That's right, the people who were certain that a pardon would be granted then had to act like they knew one would not be granted.

And then, it appeared ... of course! ... there was no way Bush was ever going to pardon Libby because Bush did not want Libby testifying before Congress! Any fool could see that (especially after the commutation was granted)! Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald grilled Libby for 8 hours in front of a grand jury, but the partisan cheerleaders in Congress could have done a much better job! After all, Fitzgerald had no talent at prefacing his "questions" with 10 minute harangues, unsupported premises and innuendo. It takes a member of Congress, in front of a television camera, to do that!

Now, the final days of the Bush administration are here. The storyline is: Bush will grant an unprecedented preemptive blanket turbo pardon of "war crimes" committed during his administration (and supported by Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi, John D. Rockefeller, Bob Graham, etc.). Bush will then pardon the Vice President Dick Cheney. While he is at it, he will then pardon himself. No, no, Bush will resign and then Cheney will pardon Bush. It isn't that this all "might" happen, or "could" happen. Oh no. The line is it will "probably" happen. In fact, the probabilities are so high, none of us should even be surprised when it does happen. I mean, we will act that way, when it happens because righteous indignation plays well to the crowd. But right now, in the calm of reasoned analysis, it is all to be expected. Meanwhile, there are no clemency scholars "expecting" any of this. No, not even one.

It is going to be utterly amusing to watch the CYA explanations emerge on January 21st!

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